Immigrant waves


water licks the quay
tasting concrete not sand
determined to find welcome

one wave, fraught with foamy fervor
    demands attention and
    ebbs reluctantly
another, hardly noticed
    crawls away defeated

never-ending swells
rise from the depths of a bay
    crisscrossed with struts and steel
bound on three sides by
     tacky tourist traps
    soul-less mansions

waves of tears from decades past
emerging from an immigrant isle
less angelic than its name
salt-tinged waves seep under a golden bridge
entering these protected waters
with no identity except hope
now doomed to lick and find
    no nourishment

never able to rise above the jutting wall of
sharp-edged boulders
positioned to keep them in their place
yet still they come
with relentless repetition
fueled by courage that defies reason
seeking what they do not have


Life Interrupted

P1010462I retired FOR GOOD four and a half years ago (the 100 flamingos in my yard were proof of that) after a forty-year career as a Clinical Psychologist. That’s eight thousand patients and tens of thousands of hours of listening to the basic seven stories of humankind: bad spouse or partner, bad job, bad kids, lousy childhood, maltreatment, bottom of society’s totem poles, or spiritual vacuum. But each retelling had its own flavor or its own horrors (just when you think you’ve heard the worst!) and the resilience of the human soul is a marvel to observe. Give it a place to flourish and flourish it will.

I turned my attention and my time toward being a loving grandparent and to fiction writing. I enjoyed putting the final touches on my second novel, MOTHER TONGUE, and developing a social media campaign to sell the first, DEGREES OF OBSESSION. How different the market has become for self-published authors. I even created a book trailer, which brought out the “director” in me.

And then my stellar work history caught up with me. A former colleague gave my name to a large heath care plan that services the Medi-Cal (Medicaid) population in 14 northern California counties. They were seeking someone with clinical experience and organizational skills (which I had obtained through leadership in my union) to serve as their Mental Health Director. Two days a week seemed doable and the lure of having a paycheck again, and a handsome one at that, led me to applying and then accepting the position.

So the plan is to sort out the new position, see what I can contribute to serving the Medi-Cal population in terms of mental health services, and run the Grammie and fiction writing “businesses” on the side. Who knew that entering the eighth decade of my life would be so invigorating and challenging. And I can always quit after I earn enough money to buy that Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce I’ve been hankering after!